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Help for single moms in Puerto Rico: 25 assistance programs

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If you’re a single mom in Puerto Rico struggling to make ends meet, keep reading for resources that help with: 

Every month, I give out $500 cash to one single mom struggling with money, health, stress, child care, illness or loneliness — no strings attached. 

Qualifications are simple:

1. You're a single mom.

2. You need the money right now.

Fill out this form to apply:

(Note that the figures and information in this post are current as of publication date.)

Many of the programs on this list determine eligibility as a percentage of the federal poverty level (FPL). These are the 2024 federal poverty guidelines:

Number of people in family/householdAnnual income

* For families/households with more than 8 people, add $5,380 for each additional person.

You can also look up your area median income (AMI) here.

Emergency cash for low-income families in Puerto Rico

If you need cash to pay bills, buy gas, feed your family, or for any other reason, these programs can help: 

Temporary Cash Assistance in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides cash assistance for qualifying families with children or to relatives who have court-ordered custody of a child placed in their home. 

The amount paid out varies depending on household income. Cash assistance is available for a lifetime total of 48 months for adults.


  • Must be a U.S. citizen or a qualified non-citizen
  • Permanent Puerto Rico resident
  • Have children under 18 or under 19 if still enrolled in high school
  • Pregnant women in third trimester if unable to work or in 9th month of pregnancy
  • Children and mother must have social security number
  • Low income
  • A child must be living in the home maintained by a parent or a relative who is a blood relative of the child
  • Children under age 5 must be up to date with immunizations
  • Children ages 6 to 18 must attend school, and parents/caretakers must attend school conferences

How to get help:

  • Apply online 
  • Contact the Puerto Rico Administration for the Socio-Economic Development of the Family (ADSEF) at 787-289-7600

More emergency cash help in Puerto Rico: 

Single moms in Puerto Rico can visit or dial 2-1-1 to ask for assistance.

Check out these posts for more ways to get emergency cash: 

These are some more tips for getting cash quickly: 

Housing help for single moms in Puerto Rico

If you need help finding a place to live or paying your rent/mortgage, these programs can help: 

Rental assistance in Puerto Rico

There are multiple programs in Puerto Rico to help renters find housing and pay their rent:

Puerto Rico Rent Payment Assistance Program

This program provides rent and utility assistance to low-income people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Live in Puerto Rico, without any financial interest in the rented property
  • Income at or below 80% of AMI
  • At risk of homelessness (past due rent, eviction notice, or arrears in utility payments)
  • Had reduced income or increased expenses as a result of the pandemic

How to get help: 

Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers affordable housing and vouchers to help low-income households pay their rent.


Vouchers and housing are based on household income and family size. You can find your county’s income limits on the HUD website

How to get help: 

Puerto Rico Rental Assistance Program 

Puerto Rico Department of Housing’s Law 173 Program subsidizes rent for low-income elderly individuals in 49 housing properties across the island. The program provides assistance for 24 months total. 

The Puerto Rico Housing Department notes that due to hurricanes Irma and Maria that funds have decreased. 


How to get help: 

Mortgage assistance in Puerto Rico 

Puerto Rico Homebuyer Assistance Program

The Puerto Rico Housing Department’s Homebuyer Assistance Program aims to help families purchase their first home. The program awards grants up to $55,000 to homebuyers. The funds can be used to cover costs such as the down payment, closing costs, and other fees associated with purchasing a home. 


  • Must be a U.S. citizen or qualified non-citizen 
  • Property must be in Puerto Rico 
  • Homebuyers must purchase an existing market-listed home ready to move-in
  • Meet income requirements 
  • Must live in the home for at least 5 years
    • If moving or selling the home before 5 years, the homebuyer must repay a portion of the original amount of the mortgage loan
  • Work with an approved, participating lender
  • Complete a homebuyer education program 
  • Must be a first-time homeowner

How to get help: 

Check today's mortgage loan rates >>

Homeless assistance in Puerto Rico 

Office on Homelessness

The main goal of the Office of Homelessness is to prevent Puerto Rico residents from becoming homeless — or from having to return to homelessness. The office oversees designated Continuum of Care agencies across the state that offer services including:

  • Emergency shelters
  • Transitional housing
  • Permanent housing
  • Counseling to acquire the necessary life skills to maintain permanent housing


Requirements are set by individual Continuums of Care agencies. 

How to get help: 

More housing help: 

Electric bill assistance in Puerto Rico

If you are struggling to pay your utility bills in Puerto Rico, check out the following programs:

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) in Puerto Rico

LIHEAP helps qualifying households with home heating and cooling costs, paid directly to utility companies. The agency does not assist with water, sewer, or telephone services. 

Most families who qualify in Puerto Rico receive up to $900 per year in assistance. 


  • Responsible for paying your home heating or cooling bills
  • Resident of Puerto Rico
  • U.S. Citizen, qualified alien, or permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Meet income requirements

How to get help:

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

WAP helps low-income families lower their monthly energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. Types of assistance include:

  • Installing carbon monoxide detectors
  • Removing mold
  • Replacing inefficient or unsafe heating units 
  • Insulating a single family home for energy efficiency


  • U.S citizen or a qualified alien
  • Resident of state of Puerto Rico
  • Meet annual household income guidelines 
  • Automatically eligible if you are receiving SSI, TANF or Aid to Families with Dependent Children benefits

How to get help:

More electric bill help: 

Free money to help pay bills

Medical insurance and dental help for single moms in Puerto Rico

The following medical and dental services are available to qualifying individuals and families:        

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) in Puerto Rico

HRSA, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, funds health centers that provide free or subsidized health and dental care to low-income people and those otherwise unable to access quality health care, like people living in rural areas.

HRSA also offers a 24/7 free and confidential mental health hotline for pregnant and new moms. Dial 833-943-5746 (833-9-HELP4MOMS) if you are struggling.


Each health center sets its own eligibility criteria for free or reduced cost care. 

How to get help:

Find an HRSA health center in Puerto Rico by typing in your address on HRSA’s search tool.

Puerto Rico Medicaid

In Puerto Rico, low-income individuals and families can obtain affordable health insurance coverage through the island’s Medicaid program. 

Medicaid services include:

  • Managed Medical Assistance (MMA) – Covers medical services like doctor visits, hospital care, prescription drugs, mental health care, and transportation for medical needs
  • Long-term Care (LTC) – Covers care in a nursing facility, assisted living, or at home (must be at least 18 years old and require nursing home-level care or hospital-level care if you have cystic fibrosis)
  • Dental – Covers all dental services for children and adults


  • Resident of Puerto Rico
  • U.S. national citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien
  • Meet income requirements

Plus, you must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Pregnant
  • Caretaker for a child 18 or younger
  • Member of the household has a disability, including blindness
  • 65 or older

How to get help:

Puerto Rico CHIP

Puerto Rico’s Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) offers children up to age 19 access to affordable health insurance if their household income is too high for Medicaid.  

CHIP provides both health and dental services with a choice of local doctors, dentists, hospitals, and pharmacies. Benefits include:

  • Doctor visits
  • Surgeries
  • Vaccines
  • Vision and hearing 
  • Hospital stays


These are the current income guidelines

How to get help: 

More medical/dental help: 

Food help for low-income families in Puerto Rico

A number of federal and state food and nutrition programs are available across the island:

Puerto Rico Food Assistance Program (PAN)

PAN, Puerto Rico’s food assistance program, provides food benefits and nutrition education to low-income households. 

SNAP recipients are issued an EBT card that can be used like an ATM card to purchase food in retail food stores, including:

  • Breads
  • Cereals
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meats
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Dairy
  • Plants and seeds to grow food 


  • Puerto Rico resident
  • Current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001 or under $3,001 and share your household with one of the following:
    • Person or persons age 60 and over
    • Person with a disability (child, spouse, parent, yourself

You must also have an annual household income below these amounts.  

How to get help: 

Apply for benefits online or call 787-749-1333.  

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children is a nutrition program that provides free baby formula and nutritional food items to low-income mothers and their babies. 


These are the current income guidelines for WIC recipients. 

If you are currently receiving Medicaid, Temporary Cash Assistance, or Food Assistance help, you are also eligible for WIC. 

How to get help: 

Contact your local WIC office or call 787-766-2805.

National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program

NSLP serves healthy, well-balanced, reduced-price or free meals to children in school. 

An extension of the NSLP, the School Breakfast Program provides free or low-cost breakfast to eligible students. Schools with at least 80% of the students eligible for free or reduced-price meals must provide breakfast at no cost to all students. 


Household income must fall at or below the limits of the federal income eligibility guidelines.

How to get help: 

Contact your child’s school to enroll. 

Puerto Rico’s Summer Food Service Program

The Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services serves nutritious meals at no cost to children during summer break. Food is distributed at local schools, nonprofits, parks and libraries. 


These are the current income guidelines for the Summer Food Service Program. 

How to get help: 

Find a location near you at the USDA Summer Food Service Program website or call 787-773-6273. 

Puerto Rico food banks

Food banks in Puerto Rico provide meals for individuals and families who are struggling to put food on the table. 


Each food bank sets its own eligibility and proof of need requirements. 

How to get help: 

To find a food bank near you and for additional information, visit the Feeding Puerto Rico website.

More food help: 

Child care help for low-income families in Puerto Rico

There are multiple federally funded education programs and resources in Puerto Rico:

Puerto Rico Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start is a free federal preschool program for children aged 3 to 5 from low-income families. Early Head Start serves pregnant women and children under age 3. The programs focus on cognitive, social, and emotional development and prepare children for school. 

Read more about Puerto Rico’s programs here. 


  • Children from birth to 5 
  • Meet federal poverty guidelines 
  • Children in foster care, homeless children, and children from families receiving public assistance (TANF, SSI, etc.) are eligible regardless of income
  • Some programs accept kids with incomes above the Poverty Guidelines
  • Pregnant women can also receive prenatal and postpartum information, education, and services through Early Head Start

How to apply: 

Puerto Rico’s Educational Vouchers 

Puerto Rico’s Educational Vouchers help students obtain financial aid to pay for private school, college courses, or honors programs. The voucher will be used to cover tuition costs and other monthly payments. 

Families can apply for more than one student, and there is no restriction that they have to attend the same school or program. 


  • Priority will be given to students in low-income households, gifted students and students with disabilities  
  • Must have completed two years of study in any public school
  • Schools may have individual requirements that applicants must meet 

How to get help: 

  • Apply online 
  • Call the Department of Education at 787-759-2000

More child care help

Education help for single moms in Puerto Rico

If you’re a single mom who wants to further her education, here are some helpful resources: 

Get a GED in Puerto Rico

If you are at least 18 years old in Puerto Rico, you can take the GED test. 

The GED test is broken into four exams on different subjects, which can be spaced out and taken at your own pace (though each individual exam has a time limit): 

  • Mathematical reasoning – 115 minutes
  • Reasoning through language arts – 150 minutes
  • Social studies – 70 minutes
  • Science – 90 minutes

You can contact the Puerto Rico Adult Education Agency for more information and for test center locations. 

Grants and scholarships in Puerto Rico

Individual schools offer need-based and academic scholarships for their students. If you’ve been accepted to a higher education institution, contact their office of financial aid to learn how to apply. 

More education help: 

Employment help for single moms in Puerto Rico

Workforce programs in Puerto Rico provide training and assist with employment:

Puerto Rico Reemployment Assistance (Insurance) Program

This program provides unemployment compensation to eligible Puerto Rico workers who are out of work through no fault of their own.


  • Puerto Rico resident 
  • Unemployed
  • Previously employed for the past 12 months
  • Earned a certain amount of wages
  • Actively looking for another job

How to get help: 

American Job Centers

The American Job Centers offer employment and training services, career counseling, and job search assistance. 

How to get help: 

More employment help: 

Charity organizations in Puerto Rico

There are a number of charitable organizations throughout Puerto Rico that offer support to single moms:

The Salvation Army of Puerto Rico

The Salvation Army wears many hats. Chapters assist with:

  • Food, shelter and clothing
  • Medication costs
  • Education and job training
  • Christmas presents
  • Rent and utility bills
  • Substance abuse rehabilitation
  • Youth services
  • Emergency disaster response


Each Salvation Army branch determines its own eligibility criteria for different programs. 

How to get help: 

Visit the Salvation Army website to find your local chapter. 

Catholic Charities of Puerto Rico

Catholic Charities assists with:

  • Housing
  • Utility assistance
  • Food assistance
  • Health care assistance


Each Catholic Charities branch determines its own eligibility criteria for different programs. 

How to get help: 

United Way of Puerto Rico

The United Way of Puerto Rico connects people in need with local resources like: 

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Child care services
  • Housing
  • Health care
  • Support groups

How to get help: 

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